Reading Nicholson Baker‘s House of Holes: A Book of Raunch has been on my “yeah, I should get to that” list for a while now, but Susie Bright‘s charming interview with Baker on this week’s edition of In Bed with Susie Bright got me motivated to actually get a-reading. I have not been disappointed: this is the work of an erotic master. It is infeasible for me to do justice to the weird dream-logic the governs the fictional setting that makes up the interconnected stories that make up the book, but they are unified around the topos in the title, a “House of Holes,” an imagined place of orgiastic gratification that you get to via portals which might be, well, almost any kind of hole.
And that makes possible the following, which should give you a taste of the book, in the chapter “Cardell Has a Sherry Cobbler,” in which Cardell, an urban planner longing for erotic release, takes a woman named Jackie to a bar. Drinks are had, specifically sherry cobblers drunk through straws. After some merriment, Sherry announces
“…I’m just going to make an excursion to the House of Holes, where I can be a total tramp for a day or two. They let you do what you want there, you know.”
Her face began to blur and liquify, and then she poured herself down into the straw and was gone.
Cardell picked up the straw and looked through it. There was no blockage. “Jackie?” he said. The bartender stood watching him, holding a glass.
“What just happened?” Cardell said.
“Your lady friend seems to have been sucked into that straw,” the bartender said.
“That’s what I think, too,” Cardell said.
The bartender shrugged. “It happens, man.”
Squee! And that incident is perhaps not the strangest in that chapter alone…